Sunday, April 22, 2012

Harmony H1203 Sovereign - Bound for Glory

During the past few days, I made a few repairs to the back edge.  There were a few empty spots where the braces cross through the side/back joint that needed filling in with some wood scraps and hide glue.  After waiting a day for the glue to set up and doing the final sanding, it was time to put on the new binding.  I read up on technique, lined up my materials and jumped right into it.  The first thing was to rough bend the binding strips into the shape of her body.  Since I did not build this guitar, I do not have a side-bending form for it.  But, I have the next best thing - the body itself and a hair dryer.

From the measurements I took, I had plenty of width in the binding strips but not enough thickness in some spots from all of the trimming I had done to smooth out the mess I had made when I removed the original binding strip.  So, I decided to bend enough binding strips to go around the edge with a double thickness.  I taped the strips around the body and applied some heat.


Both of the binding strips I had were long enough to go around the body.  I left one strip taped around the body while attaching the other one.  That tube of Loctite Stick'N Seal in the picture remained unopened.  Instead, I use Scotch Maximum Strength Adhesive throughout.  The Scotch adhesive has enough work time to do just a few inches at a time, so I was careful to alternate between tearing off a bunch of pieces of tape before applying some adhesive, and taping a few inches of the binding strip down.

A little past the halfway point, I stopped for a breather from the fumes of that adhesive.

It took about 40 minutes to work my way around the body.  I left the body sitting and allowed the adhesive to set up for a few hours.

A few hours later, the adhesive had set up, and I could see a few spots where I had not used enough.  I reapplied the adhesive, pulling back the strip enough to let the adhesive get into the joint, put on some more tape, and left it sitting again for a few more hours.

Using my Dremel  with a grinding attachment, I started knocking down the binding to just above the surface of the back panel.  I started at the end block and worked slowly to avoid marking up her finish as much as possible.  Although I expect to have to spray some clear lacquer past the edge onto the back and sides, I hope to minimize the area to be refinished, as I do not plan on refinishing the entire body.  After removing all of the tape and making my way around the body, I realized one thickness of binding strip would be enough if I sanded down the sides in a few spots.  Considering how thick and chunky the side panels and kerfing are in this old guitar, I decided to sand down the sides and go with one thickness of binding strip.

Some 60 grit sandpaper did a nice job leveling out the surfaces of the binding and body, and using some 100 grit I smoothed out the uneven spots and finished rounding the edge off of the binding strip before calling it a night.


  1. Hi Edgar, just posting to say I appreciate the impressive amount of work you are putting into restoring this old guitar! It's going to be even better than it was before. :)